My Atheism

In a comment on the matter of atheists needing faith, Edward Silha gives one of the better responses with the following points:

There is no need to use the terms “faith” or “belief” when discussing the existence or nonexistence of a god or gods. As a scientist, I draw conclusions based on evidence and logic. That leads me to the following conclusions.

1. I cannot prove there are no gods; therefore I am not an atheist.
2. I cannot prove there is a god; therefore I am not a theist.
3. Therefore, I am an agnostic.

The trouble is that the three points are really logical, not evidential points. And this is part of the problem when discussing atheism and agnosticism: Continue reading My Atheism

Dawkins, How do I love thee? Let me count the ways

You’re with it by now, right? Lauren Nelson (Lake?) loves Richard Dawkins. She wrote a crappy post, got called out on it, then on her blog told us how we got it wrong, that she loves him but he could do better. It’s all been said, in comments, on twitter, on other blogs, … but … I don’t want to be left out!!!

So, there was this: Richard Dawkins Fails Spectacularly on Feminism and Islam – Lauren Nelson, on Friendly Atheist. Continue reading Dawkins, How do I love thee? Let me count the ways

Cenk Uygur Is Losing His Grip On Reality?

A good show from @KyleKulinski on Cenk Uygur getting his panties in a twist over New Atheists (well, Sam Harris really). Kyle’s show is a ‘TheYoungTurks Partner’, and I’ve seen Kyle raise this issue with Cenk before. In an earlier show I thought Kyle had some details wrong and gave Cenk too much benefit of the doubt. So it’s significant that Kyle gets what the problem is with Cenk, though I don’t know he’s aware of the full nature of the problem. Continue reading Cenk Uygur Is Losing His Grip On Reality?

Social Justice The PZ Way

As far as I’m concerned Social Justice is a good cause, and one aspect of it that’s still needed is Feminism. There are injustices against women in many areas of interaction with men, and often at work: about work and in personal interactions at work.

The disputes and claims of harassment can be pretty tough to untangle. The people involved may have ‘history’ (that vague term clearly covers many complex possibilities), and often there are few, if any, witnesses to incidents, but often plenty of opinion and gossip. Work is just like that. It’s a freaky combination of professional and social life where the barriers aren’t always clear.

So this is one situation that requires some level headed treatment, the suspension of judgement, and calm reflected analysis all round – especially since those directly involved are likely to be emotionally charged about the conflict. Continue reading Social Justice The PZ Way

Frank Jackson, James Garvey, Mary and the Awful Knowledge Argument

James Garvey of TPM has this piece on an interview with Frank Jackson, where Jackson seems to have turned to physicalism, but I still don’t think he gets it yet.

A point to make at the outset: Refuting the Knowledge Argument does not in itself make the case for physicalism. A physicalist point may be used in an explanation of the physicalist understanding of the phenomena the Knowledge Argument is trying to describe, but the refutation of the argument is a logical one, and the physicalist comment only supports that refutation, by offering the physicalist view as an alternative. Continue reading Frank Jackson, James Garvey, Mary and the Awful Knowledge Argument

God Probabilities Are Pointless, Even From Physicists

Physicist Sean Carroll indulges one of his physics colleagues in a post Guest Post: Don Page on God and Cosmology. Sean:

Don Page is one of the world’s leading experts on theoretical gravitational physics and cosmology, as well as a previous guest-blogger around these parts. … He is also, somewhat unusually among cosmologists, an Evangelical Christian, and interested in the relationship between cosmology and religious belief.

From here on I’ll address Don on his piece, by picking up only the statements I think are really problematic. I’m basically repeating what I wrote in the comments section, with some minor mods. Continue reading God Probabilities Are Pointless, Even From Physicists

Mehdi Hasan Destroys Islam

Mehdi Hasan destroys Islam. He doesn’t mean to, but as he thinks he’s distancing Islam from ISIS he picks so many reasons for rejecting Islam. Good job, Mehdi.

In this online CNN video, Does ISIS have any religious legitimacy?, Mehdi Hasan debates with Graeme Wood over Wood’s piece on ISIS. Mehdi responded in his own article, which had lots of holes in it and begged and received criticism. Poor sap Mehdi just can’t stop putting his foot in his mouth. Continue reading Mehdi Hasan Destroys Islam